Yesterday I did our second performance in Sleight of Hand. Once again, how myself react to each performance took me by surprise. Although the conditions are exactly the same for a dress rehearsal, a Generale and a proper performance, how I feel on stage is totally different. In a real performance, I feel much more nervous which is easy to understand…
I will have 8 more performances in Sleight of Hand until 23rd May. Since I entered the Paris Opera, this is one of the few times that I know in advance the days on which I will perform:
For Sleight of Hand:
April: 18, 19, 20 (14h30 and 20h), 21 (14h30), 27 (20h)
May: 11, 17, 18 (20h), 23
For Speak for Yourself:
Mai: 12 (14h30), 14, 18 (14h30), 20
I feel so grateful to the choreographers Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot for believing in me and for giving me this precious opportunity. When I first met them, I was a little taken aback by how strict and precise they are, making me feel like I could never be as good as how they might want me to be.
Very soon, I discovered how passionate they are. They truly love ballet, their dancers and the pieces that they’d created. They’re also incredibly kind and warm people.
The ballet masters of Sleight of Hand Menghan (the one who speaks a little Cantonese!) and Roger already left after the Première….. They did an incredible job as well, being as precise as the choreographers and were able to adapt to every situation.
And it is such a beautiful beautiful program! The feedbacks are all very positive and people seem to enjoy it so much, which is very satisfying to know for the performers.
Okay, I have to get ready for the performances today! Weather in Paris is extremely good, so as my mood.
Yesterday night, we had our Pré-Générale of the Paul Lightfoot evening. We were very excited, the stage rehearsal in the afternoon went very well. The two choreographers, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Léon looked very happy with our work and proud of us, which made us very satisfied and confident.
The Pré-Générale (before-last dress rehearsal) started at 19h30 in Palais Garnier. Like my usual practice, I had a very light dinner at 18h, then I go do make-up and fix my hair, by then it will be around 18h45 already, then I will go take a nap in my dressing room for 15min. I’ll then put on my costume and get warmed up for the start of the show.
We had no idea what was happening at Notre Dame at that time. The rehearsal finished at around 21h, I walked out of stage, checked my phone, and I saw a Notre Dame Cathedral on fire all over the internet! My first thoughts were: “This is unreal, how is that possible?”, “Is that another terrorist attack!?”, “Oh no! One of my favorite, if not my favorite spot in Paris is burning!!!!!”
Just last weekend, I was having a nice relaxing walk around Notre Dame. I love this spot of Paris where the beautiful Cathedral is surrounded cherry blossoms by this time of the year, the Seine river, the whole picture looked so peaceful and poetic. No matter how stressful life is, going there just make you so positive, making me realise how lucky I am to be living in this beautiful city of Paris. How about the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore just at the opposite side. From the window on the first floor, a perfect view on Notre Dame….
I went to bed yesterday night feeling worried that the moment when I will wake up, Notre Dame would be gone… Fortunately, the beautiful facade seems to be safe and sound from the fire. This tragedy will be a part of the history of the Cathedral. However, the radio says that it requires more than 40 years to completely rebuild the damaged part…… Live Long Notre belle Dame~
It’s Sunday morning! A relaxing Sunday morning, trying to stop myself from working!
This past week has been great. We had intense rehearsals for the coming program of Paul Lightfoot. The preparation is going very well, I very much appreciate the opportunity to meet these wonderful choreographers, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Léon, but also two very kind ballet masters Roger and Menghan. Menghan is actually Chinese! He was in the original casts of the two ballets that we are performing. Now he’s a freelance choreographer and accepted to come and help mounting the two ballets in Paris. He speaks a little Cantonese too! It feels extremely satisfying to speak Cantonese in the studios.
I enjoy dancing these two ballets very much, Sleight of Hand and Speak for Yourself. Sol Léon has been with us this week and she taught us so much about the intentions, the meanings and the atmosphere of the pieces. We will start rehearsing on stage tomorrow and throughout the entire week to come. I am very excited to see how the pieces will be with our costumes on, the rain and the water, the giant towers and different sets.
Apart from that, we had an open class on stage on Thursday. One of my friends recently reminded me in a message (have I talked about this already?), he wrote:
I guess you can appreciate that you have an amazing talent
You’re doing something special
Don’t forget it 🙂
Since then, I appreciate again my daily routine as a ballet dancer intentionally. I remember taking this public class on stage last year. I didn’t quite enjoy it because I was conscious that people were watching from the audience and around. I wanted to show-off, to prove myself to the others. This year, I didn’t care what others would think anymore. I just enjoyed this opportunity to dance on this beautiful stage, and it was much more enjoyable.
Otherwise, I am now preparing for the final exams of my business degree. It’s getting difficult! I thought writing was easy for me because I’d always written a lot. However, writing a report is in fact quite different from writing just an article or a blog post……
This weekend, I have to treat myself and REST! Yesterday was a beautiful day. Spring is finally here in Paris. The flowers are blooming, the trees are green and happy, the sun is out and the sky is blue. I had a nice walk in the Jardin du Luxembourg, a place that always recalls memories of my first visit in Paris.
Then I went to Centre Pompidou to see different exhibitions, I saw three. One of them was Vasarely.
It’s now 11:25am, I still have half a day of rest before attacking another crazy week of work! The sky is grey today….. Of course I have a lot of ideas of what to do this afternoon. But should I rather stay at home and rest?
Here I am, in the train again, this time back to Paris.
Just yesterday morning, I was so excited to go on a totally unexpected journey. After a week of difficult work, I was expecting myself to be sitting in my flat in Paris, maybe working in front of my laptop on Saturday, and just rest on Sunday. And in the spur of the moment, I decided to join my friends to Deauville.
It has been an eye-widening experience. I didn’t expect this small city in Normandy to be so charming, clean, but also luxurious, with a lot of beautiful cars and luxury stores. I also entered a Casino and gambled for the first time in my life. I honestly do not intend to get addicted to it, but I thought it would be nice to at least try it once. I appreciated how nice the Casino was decorated inside, and entertaining the games.
I also remember watching a documentary on YouTube about a major renovation of the beautiful and renowned hotel, Le Normandy in Deauville. Of course I paid a visit to this hotel. The hotel looks indeed very nice, freshly renovated, I liked its style very much. It is not Ritz-Paris-luxurious, neither poetic like the Chenonceau Castle, but it is sobre luxury, and very charming.
Deauville is also famous for its seafood, fresh and less pricey comparing to Paris. People told me that seafood is a must-have, so I had some. It was indeed very good. Cidre is also a specialty there. Although I am definitely not so into alcohol, much to my surprise I liked it very much. And here’s another first for me, I finished an entire cup of alcohol for the first time in my life.
So that’s it! Another week to come. But hopefully this time, I fully recharged my battery of energy and motivation before the go. Thank you so much my friends to have count me in! At the end of the day, why do we work so hard in life and never allow ourselves to live these rewarding experiences?
Weekend!!~ I am pretty satisfied with past week’s work. It was another week of productivity, and I confirm that I like it. Ending the day telling myself, “I’ve done a lot”, is satisfying. On Wednesday, my mental coach reminded me to “talk to myself” in a kind way. Instead of thinking “Oh, I am not good enough.” or “I cannot do this”, rather think “Let’s work on this so that I can achieve …..”. This simple technique somehow helped me to spend the rest of the week with much more confidence and serenity.
The rehearsals in the Opera are going very well for the upcoming program of Paul Lightfoot. We continue rehearsing with water, and eventually we get better and better dancing wet! In the above video, several dancers prepare the studio for the water rehearsal.
The other ballet (the dry one) Sleight of Hand is going well too. For the moment I am first cast, which means I will surely be able to perform so I am overjoyed. I enjoy the universe of this piece very much, with intense darkness, power and mystery. We also got the best costume! This week we received the very stylish black coat so that we could rehearse a little bit with it, I definitely love it.
This ballet also include two very impressive sets, two tall towers for the roles of the Queen and the King. The two dancers will go up on those towers and do big upper body mouvements. To stabilize the towers and to prevent the dancers from falling down, because when you watch them moving it really freaks you out, they put a construction with weights of more than 300 kg each. It is very appealing to discover.
I also got to know that I will perform in Singapore and Shanghai in the next tour with the Opera too. So things are going great for me recently.
The weather is incredible in Paris, 19 degrees, blue sky and very sunny, flowers are blooming and Spring is finally here. Yesterday evening, after the rehearsal, Horray! Weekend! While thinking how I should spend my time and enjoy myself, my friend called, and ask me to join them for Deauville (Normandy, France) for the weekend. Another first, à completely last minute trip, with friends. To be continued in a next post.
The rehearsals of the Paul Lightfoot program is going very well. This week, to prepare for the ballet Speak for Yourself, in which we will dance in the rain (yes~!) around the end of the piece, they put water in one of the studios so that we can get prepared and get used to dancing on a slippery dance floor. Here’s an extract of the ballet:
It looks stunning with dancers dancing in the rain doesn’t it!? That rehearsal with water was very fun, although it was very scary in the beginning dancing on a “very slippery” floor. You have to keep your core incredibly stable and your legs muscles very tensed up to not fall down!!
It feels very good to be rehearsing intensively again. It is difficult, forcing your body to wake up every morning at class, feeling soreness at different body parts each day, and albeit still keep dancing. While rehearsing, with the power of the music and the pressure of the choreographer pushing you to go further and further just in front of you, you kind of forget about how your body really feels. At the end of the day, physically and mentally you are completely exhausted, and somehow I enjoy this feeling of exhaustion. I would go back home and take a nice hot shower, and finish the day with some gentle stretching and self massage, feeling satisfied of the work that I did, the feeling that you’ve done a lot in a day.
What is more satisfying is that I had a lot of work to do from my business course this week, on top of the rehearsals at the Opera. So I had to wake up early every morning, work for an hour on my laptop, ballet class, work for another hour, rehearsals, work for another hour or two, then stretching and a good night’s sleep well deserved. It may sounds scarily tiring, but again the feeling of being productive is satisfying to me. Only that I really have to rest during the weekend, to recover before starting over again on Monday~
This week, I went through another emotional-roller-coaster. Last Tuesday, I came out from the MRI examination room, waiting hopelessly and anxiously for the results of the MRI about my left hip pain. I was sitting there waiting, in the waiting room. In my head it was clear, the pain was caused by another muscle lesion, like the previous times. I was just waiting for the doctor to come out and announce that to me. While waiting, I wrote this:
“Things don’t always happen as expected in life. Last Friday, i was expecting a busy busy week to come, with my schedule packed with rehearsals of two ballets “Sleight of Hand” and “Speak for yourself” in which I am casted, and business classes and more. I was looking forward to these challenges, I like being busy, it feels productive when you’re busy. And how exciting to be dancing in two new ballers by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Léon that I really like! Friday night, feeling some satisfying tiredness and excitement for the weekend to come, I started planning my schedule for the next week.
Saturday morning, at the moment I woke up, something was wrong. I could feel my psoas muscle screaming in front of my hip. I didn’t take it very seriously, I thought “how is that possible? I was feeling so well yesterday evening! Or what happened during my sleep?”.
Yesterday, Monday, I was back in…………………”
Just as I finished writing that, the doctor, who was in a hurry because his friend (my doctor at the Opera) asked him to see me in between two bookings, came out and told me,
“Mr. Lam? I am sorry, I am in a hurry, but your hip is fine, don’t worry. I have to go but here are the images, go and get the results upstairs, bye!”
At that moment, I thought, Okay, doctors don’t always want to confront with their patients’ sadness or disappointment while announcing them the very truth, often a bad news.
I got the report, and it read: no abnormal conditions observed.
What really? Is my hip really completely okay? I have been sleepless for a whole night asking myself why I hurt myself again. What I could feel was exactly the same as the last times when I hurt my psoas, which made me stop dancing for months. I was so prepared of loosing this precious opportunity to work and to perform in this Lightfoot production. I also wondered why my Life, my destiny keep taking these opportunities from me. I told myself, Oh, everything happens for a reason. Life wants to strengthen my emotional intelligence, or oh, maybe I wasn’t meant to do this production………. and many other thoughts of the sort. Meanwhile, the pain was still there, there must be something wrong with the report or the doctor’s diagnosis.
Saturday today, I had a whole week of intense rehearsals. And the pain is gone. My hip really turned out to be totally alright!
Voilà, that is how I scared myself. Now, I appreciate each rehearsal, I cherish every moment even more, more than ever.